Ecologic Institute Returns to Egypt for the 30th Cairo Climate Talks
The upcoming negotiations in Paris on the future global climate regime were the topic of the 30th Cairo Climate Talks in Egypt. Top level participants from the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, the French and German Embassies and Ecologic Institute’s own Dr. Camilla Bausch provided varying perspectives on the challenges and opportunities regarding the upcoming 21st Conference of Parties (COP21). Dr. Khaled Fahmy, Egyptian Minister of the Environment, offered critical insights into the current framework in Egypt, while German Ambassador Hansjörg Haber and French Ambassador André Parant served as hosts for the evening discussion.
Under the title "2°: Paris Negotiations for an Urgent Halt to Global Warming", a series of three events facilitated an exchange on the way forward towards Paris, each featuring Dr. Bausch as a speaker.The first day included a workshop with German, French and Egyptian officials and experts to outline and discuss national situations and perspectives. It was complemented by a subsequent public panel debate with more than 100 guests. The second day finalized the series of events with a capacity building workshop at the German Embassy on international climate negotiations for Germans working in the region, including nearby Morocco.
During the events, a multiplicity of issues was addressed. The importance of the climate summit (the largest international summit ever hosted in Paris) is underscored by the incoming French presidency. Stéphane Gompertz, the French Ambassador for Climate Change (Africa and Indian Ocean), outlined the outreach efforts undertaken to try to solidify the structure and content of the "four pillars" for Paris: 1) binding agreement, 2) mitigation, 3) means of implementation, including in particular finance and technology, and 4) non-state-actor action. Asked about a possible Plan B in case the efforts failed, he showed the French determination to make Paris a success by saying that there is no Plan B as there is no Planet B.
Nevertheless, the global ambition gap with respect to climate change mitigation was criticized and the risks due to the slow progress of negotiations underlined. Speakers took different perspectives regarding responsibilities to act or what should be included and prioritized in the submission on "Intended Nationally Determined Contributions" (INDCs). In this context Egypt mentioned its efforts to incentivize African countries to submit their INDCs, with adaptation and financing as core elements. In this context, the German support to help Egypt develop its INDCs was appreciated. The EU had already submitted its INDC, with a strong emphasis on mitigation efforts.
Interestingly, options for differentiation between countries regarding their mitigation contributions were discussed openly. Egypt’s progress on developing Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMAs) and respective challenges were underlined. In this context, the negative experience with the collapsing CDM/CER-market was mentioned. The discussion also looked at potentials in Egypt for investment in renewable energy sources and a movement away from dependencies on fossil fuels. The recent decision to invest in coal was criticized by many participants.
Taking up the issue of market mechanisms, the recent developments and reforms of the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) were briefly outlined. It was clarified that the prices within the EU ETS can be expected to remain at a low level for a number of years before the effects of the reform kick in.
The Cairo Climate Talks are a series of events meant to provide a platform to exchange experiences, raise awareness and foster cooperation between policy makers, business and scientists, and civil society. The Cairo Climate Talks are conceived, organized and hosted as a cooperation between the German Embassy in Cairo, the Egyptian Ministry of Environment and the Embassy of France, with support provided by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (The German Society for International Cooperation, GIZ), Egyptian German High Level Joint Committee for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Environmental Protection (JCEE), the German Science Centre Cairo (DWZ Cairo) and Deutsch-Ägyptische Entwicklungspolitische Zusammenarbeit (German-Egyptian Development Cooperation, Embassy of the Federal Republic of German).